Burglars sought in Bibb elementary school break-in

lfabian@macon.comMarch 19, 2014 

Principal Janie Sharpe thought they had won the battle with burglars at Rice Elementary School.

Wednesday morning, however, she found her front office showered with glass fragments from a busted window just inside the front door of the school not far off Bloomfield Drive.

Burglars bashed in windows and ransacked offices sometime after staff closed down Tuesday evening.

Custodian Lewis Gibbons said the burglar alarm was going off when he arrived about 6 a.m. Wednesday.

“What bothers me is how they got in the building,” said Gibbons, who didn’t immediately notice anything out of the ordinary outside the school. “I don’t feel comfortable coming here like this.”

Upon further inspection, Gibbons noticed a cable was cut to a surveillance camera at the rear of the building.

The cafeteria manager’s office window was bashed in, trash littered the floor and drawers had been rummaged through.

Manila envelops were scattered in the hallway when Sharpe arrived.

This was the second time her building had been breached during her first year as principal.

Sept. 13, the school was broken into barely a month into her new job.

“This is only hurting our children and their education,” Sharpe said. “This stops us from our daily routine. It stops us from getting the children in and making sure that they’re settled and ready for learning and engaged in learning -- because someone decides to take from the children.”

The prior school year, she said, several burglaries occurred.

“That is a poor message to our children about their education, how valuable their education is,” she said.

The Bibb County Sheriff’s Office is working with campus police in investigating the burglary.

Deputies dusted for fingerprints on a pre-kindergarten classroom window where investigators believe the burglar, or burglars, got into the building.

The room’s teacher was concerned someone might have stolen a computer, but she had taken student tablets home for safe keeping.

Officers are assessing the damage to the building and looking for any clues to help identify the culprits.

A lone work glove was found with the paperwork scattered in the main hall.

Anyone with information is urged to call Macon Regional CrimeStoppers at 877-68-CRIME.

Telegraph writer Jenna Mink contributed to this article. To contact writer Liz Fabian, call 744-4303.

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